Advertising
Advertising

10 Online Financial Calculators You Never Knew That Could Make Your Life Easier

10 Online Financial Calculators You Never Knew That Could Make Your Life Easier

We make hundreds of financial decisions every day. Most are simple — do you want fries with that? — but some decisions can be quite complex. As you approach different phases of life, you may find yourself asking these questions, in need of guidance. There are a great many resources available online but I’ve highlighted my favorite 10 online financial calculators to make your life easier:

Should I Buy Or Lease?

The number of cars purchased by 18- to 34-year-olds fell nearly 30 percent from 2007 to 2011. This trend has continued with the rapid adoption of services like ZipCar so the importance of getting a good deal is more important than ever before. Use this calculator to weigh your options and make the best decision.

1 - Should I Buy Or Lease?

      (http://www.cars.com/go/advice/financing/calc/loanLeaseCalc.jsp?mode=full)

    How Much House Can I Afford?

    Likely the most significant purchase you’ll ever make, buying a home can be daunting. Give this calculator a workout in the early stages of your home search to ensure you factor in all expenses and land on a house budget that won’t leave you over extended.

    2 - How Much House Can I Afford?

        (http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/mortgages/new-house-calculator.aspx)

      Advertising

      When Will My Credit Card Be Paid Off?

      The average American household has more than $15,000 in credit card debt with average interest rates hovering around 17%. Wherever you fall in the spectrum, it’s critically important to develop a debt payoff plan and take a hard look at your credit card balances first. This powerful, easy to use tool allows you to input all your credit card balance and rate information to experiment with multiple pay down plans.

      3 - When Will My Credit Card Be Paid Off?

        (http://money.cnn.com/calculator/pf/debt-free/)

        How Close Am I To My Savings Goal?

        The power of setting goals cannot be overstated. The power of achieving those goals and raising the bar works wonders for your confidence. Financial goals are no different and this thorough calculator will keep you on track.

        4 - How CLose Am I To My Savings Goal?

            (http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/savings-goal-calculator-tool.aspx)

          What Happens If I Become Disabled?

          I’ve outlined before (

          Advertising

          http://www.lifehack.org/articles/money/8-crucial-financial-moves-make-your-30s.html) your most valuable asset is your future earnings potential. LifeHappens, a non-profit foundation for education, helps quantify the income protection you may be lacking with this tool. 5 - What Happens If I Become Disabled?

              (http://www.lifehappens.org/insurance-overview/disability-insurance/calculate-your-needs/)

            Am I Saving Enough For Retirement?

            The age-old question: how much do I need? After consulting your financial planner for a retirement analysis, plug your current retirement savings plan into this robust calculator and adjust as needed. Remember, you need to actually MAKE any desired savings plan changes!

            6 - Am I Saving Enough For Retirement?

                (http://www.bloomberg.com/personal-finance/calculators/retirement/)

              Will I Be Able To Afford College For The Kids?

              Admittedly, paying for your kids’ college can seem like a fantasy. The earlier you start saving, and saving intelligently, the more likely you are to reach your goal. My Father paid every penny of college tuition for me and my two brothers — hands down, there’s no greater gift. The College Board provides this analysis which considers very important factors like inflation and time horizon.

              7 - Will I Be Able To Afford College For The Kids?

                  (https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/college-costs/college-costs-calculator)

                Advertising

                How Soon Until I Pay Off The Mortgage?

                Many online and TV pundits advocate for debt free living which, for most people, means eliminating the mortgage as your most significant liability. Whether you subscribe to this ideal or you simply want to accelerate payments, this tool will help shape your payoff plan. Keep in mind, if you have a “sweetheart” mortgage interest rate, you may be better off allocating your accelerated payments elsewhere.

                8 - How Soon Until I Pay Off The Mortgage?

                    (http://www.aarp.org/money/credit-loans-debt/mortgage_payoff_calculator/)

                  What Will It Cost to Care For My Elders?

                  It’s no secret the cost of medical care is on the rise. Some industry estimates peg the cost of a private nursing home room to double over the next 15 years. Hopefully your parents and grandparents have made ample arrangements to pay for these expenses. This calculator will help you evaluate the current and projected costs in your area. Don’t know if Mom and Dad are covered? The financial burden may fall on your shoulders so ask them!

                  9 - What Will It Cost To Care For My Elders?

                      (http://www.johnhancockinsurance.com/long-term-care/cost-of-long-term-care-calculator/index.html        

                    Advertising

                     

                    10.  How Long Will I Live?

                    I can’t direct you to the fountain of youth but I can steer you towards this simple exercise the bright Ivy League minds at The Wharton School created. Certainly, it’s not perfect but it will give you an idea of life expectancy so you can plan for an adequate retirement, debt management, life insurance funding, legacy planning and a slew of other important financial decisions.

                    10 - How Long Will I Live?

                        (http://gosset.wharton.upenn.edu/mortality/perl/CalcForm.html)

                      Albert Camus famously mused “Life is the sum of all your choices.” Making sound financial decisions is paramount to living the life of your dreams and no one can make sensible choices without knowledge and understanding. Use these calculators to identify the impact of significant life events and take control of your finances.

                      Featured photo credit: picjumbo via picjumbo.com

                      More by this author

                      4 Simple Ways to Save Enough for Retirement These 8 Everyday Financial Worries Have One Common Solution 10 Online Financial Calculators You Never Knew That Could Make Your Life Easier 8 Crucial Financial Moves To Make In Your 30’s

                      Trending in Money

                      1 How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success 2 17 Practical Money Skills that Will Set You Up for Early Retirement 3 25 Things to Sell to Make Extra Money Easily 4 How to Pay off Debt Fast Using the Stack Method (A Step-By-Step Guide) 5 30 Fun Things To Do With Your Friends Without Spending Much

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Published on September 17, 2018

                      How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

                      How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

                      Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

                      With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

                      So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

                      1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

                      It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

                      You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

                      So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

                      2. When you want something big, wait

                      Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

                      It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

                      We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

                      A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

                      Advertising

                      So, you get the itch.

                      You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

                      Here’s where you have to take a step back.

                      Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

                      Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

                      It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

                      The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

                      3. Live smaller than you can afford

                      You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

                      You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

                      That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

                      Advertising

                      Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

                      Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

                      The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

                      But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

                      4. Practice smart grocery shopping

                      Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

                      But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

                      Create a grocery budget

                      Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

                      Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

                      I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

                      Make a list… and never deviate

                      Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

                      Advertising

                      You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

                      These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

                      Eat before going grocery shopping

                      It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

                      If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

                      After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

                      Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

                      However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

                      This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

                      5. Cancel your gym membership

                      Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

                      The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

                      Advertising

                      Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

                      I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

                      Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

                      Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

                      For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

                      Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

                      There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

                      It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

                      I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

                      Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

                      The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Read Next